For years, friends have been telling me I should try meditation. I’m embarrassed to admit it’s mostly because of (how can I put this delicately?) a temper that flares when I’m anxious or stressed out. But, as it is for many people, it’s one of those things I haven’t gotten around to. This video by AsapSCIENCE, though, describing the things scientists have discovered about meditators has me thinking about it again.
Meditation is linked to a decreased anxiety and depression, and increased pain tolerance. Your brain tunes out the outer world during meditation, and on brain scans of meditators, scientists can see increased activity in default mode network - which is associated with better memory, goal setting, and self-awareness. The part of the brain that controls empathy has also been shown to be more pronounced in monks who are long-time meditators. From the video:
“[Meditation] also literally changes your brain waves, and we can measure these frequencies. Medidators have higher levels of alpha waves, which have been shown to reduce feelings of negative mood, tension, sadness and anger.”
Much like hitting the gym can grow your muscles and increase your overall health, it seems that meditation may be a way of working out your brain—with extra health benefits.”
Other demonstrated benefits include better heart rate variability and immune system function. I’m glossing over a lot of the information that’s packed into this entertaining little video, but if you’re curious, check out this less-than-three-minute video yourself.